The Old West Brings Us Spider Gangs, Classic Heroes, and Talking Animals

New Comic Book Day highlights some of the best books released that week.eek.

Holy smokes everyone, I’m not sure what’s happening, but it seems like the last few weeks have just been amazing for comics. Maybe it’s the unbridled addiction I have for these things, maybe it’s my lack of self-control when it comes to buying comics. Or, maybe all of this is just one giant cry for help, who knows? What I do know, for the last three weeks I’ve pulled in over seventy books total, and none of them sucked. This week, as I sorted through the massive stack of comics, searching for those to write about, I found myself with an influx of indie books. It was a difficult decision, choosing which to write about or not, and out of the eleven I wanted to highlight, I did manage to narrow it to seven. With that, here we go…

3-Devils-3-Cover3 Devils #3

Written By: Bo Hampton
Art By: Bo Hampton
Published: May 04, 2016 by IDW Publishing

Now, I first wrote about this book a couple months ago when the first issue hit the shelves. In that particular article I distinctly remember a sudden urge to speak “western.” Well, no such tomfoolery will hitch our get-along…dang it. I’m sorry, that just slipped…Yeehaw!…oh my. This might be a problem, it seems my love for western comics is taking over my ability to speak normally…and I’ve done tangled up my caboodle. Now then, I best skedaddle on into talkin bout this here book before I wrangle myself up some trouble..I can’t stop. Send help.

In all seriousness though, this comic has only become better and better as we move forward. The first issue added some awesome elements with magic, which isn’t totally unfamiliar in westerns, and is a little more than hinting at supernatural workings. Now that we’re three issues deep, we’ve progressed in the story far enough that some real stuff is about to hit the fan. We’ve learned about Marcus’ past, where he came from and how it is he does all the crazy things he can do. Our girl has grown up quite a bit since issue one, and in this book she puts her skills to use and wrecks some dudes in a saloon. By the end of this issue, we’re off and running toward our bad guy, and I have to say, if more western books were this good there’d probably be a lot more around. This is seriously a top-notch western story, and it’s being done wonderfully as a comic.

Daredevil-Punisher-1Daredevil/Punisher #1

Written By: Charles Soule
Art By: Szymon Kudranski
Published: May 04, 2016 by Marvel Comics

As it’s well documented on this very blog, I love Daredevil. However, the beauty of this book is found not just in the fact that my boy DD is in it. No. It’s found in the continuity of the ongoing Daredevil series. For those who aren’t reading Daredevil, our hero has taken on a pupil, Blindspot, and the two of them are making quick work of the serious baddies found within Hell’s Kitchen. In this mini series, we are getting that exact same Daredevil, not some one-off hero that is completely disconnected from the world being developed under his own title. We are getting a tie-in where Blindspot is there to help our boy out. Also, as a side note, when Blindspot showed up I may or may not have squealed a little.Anyway, back to the book, I’m assuming this is tie-in and merging of the larger Darevdevil world is happening because Soule is at the helm of both stories, and bravo to that guy because these two Daredevil titles are awesome.

The first thing I want to mention about this book in particular is it has nothing to do with the Netflix series, other than maybe seeing print due to the Netflix season doing so well. In this book, Matt Murdock is attempting to put a relatively vile individual in jail, and of course Punisher wants to kill the guy, thus our conflict’s introduced. While that’s the premise, and for some that might sound extremely boring and overdone, in Soules hands it’s actually engaging. The action sequences are great, there’s a car chase scene that was pretty intense, and by the end I knew I’d be reading this until its end. It’s a solid book, and I’m actually excited to see how Soule handles a character like Punisher.

Weavers-1-CoverWeavers #1

Written By: Simon Spurrier
Art By: Dylan Burnett
Published: May 04, 2016 by BOOM! Studios

To be upfront, I wasn’t feeling this book initially. The first few pages weren’t really grabbing me, and I felt slightly lost because I had no clue where the focus of the dialogue was targeted at. However, I’m not new to this. I know to at least stick it out until the end. Luckily for me, and anyone who reads this, it didn’t take long after the first couple pages to grab me, and by the end of the book I was super-grateful I stuck it out because this is shaping up to be an awesome story.

Weavers is basically about a gang called the Weavers who appear to be people with superpowers. We get a glimpse of how these powers work when we see the “power” of a dead Weaver member being transferred into an innocent person. I’m assuming this gang calls themselves Weavers because the “power” comes crawling out of the mouth of the dead Weaver woman in the form of a red, glowing spider. Get it? Spiders…Weavers…spiders “weave” webs…sorry, I didn’t get it at first. From this, we follow the person who inherited that spider, thus he now has these powers. It also appears that these powers aren’t spider related. Someone can control heat, another Weaver can influence people, even cause them to think certain things, and our main guy, Sid, basically produces a huge red monster from his arm. Sid is the new guy, and as the new guy he isn’t really trusted by any of the Weavers. Some of that is Sid’s fault as he’s acting kind of stupid, and suspicious, but what’s a guy supposed to do when one day you’re a normal dude and the next you’re swallowing a glowing red spider that just crawled out of a dead ladies mouth.

With all of that said though, this was an excellent book and definitely worth picking up. As I said, and I’m willing to admit the confusion may have been more myself than the book, if the first few pages don’t grab you, give the book a chance and stick it out. It was really fantastic and I’m most certainly going to be grabbing the new few issues to see how it all comes together.

Beast-of-Burden-CoverBeasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In

Written By: Evan Dorkin & Sarah Dyer
Art By: Jill Thompson
Published: May 04, 2016 by Dark Horse Comics

For those who may not know, Beasts of Burden is actually an Eisner Award-winning story that started back in 2009. That may sound like a lot of back issues to catch up on, even if they’re all in trade form, however, that’s why, Beasts of Burden: What the Cat Dragged In, is here. For many people, jumping into a series that started years and years ago feels overwhelming. You’re never quite sure if they’re going to reference something from a comic you’ve never read, or at the very least you enjoy the comic but can’t afford to purchase hundreds of back issues. What the Cat Dragged In is meant to give people a jumping on point. This is a standalone story with just enough information to let you see what the comic is all about, without tying it to anything previous. You’ll be able to read the entirety of this story from beginning to end, no cliffhangers or pushes into more books. Then, if you enjoyed it you’re free to hop into the series where it stands without spending a crap-ton of money.

As for this comic, we’re following a group of cats, and one raccoon, as they investigate a house formerly occupied by one of their owners. As it turns out, the former owners were witches, the house is a little more than magical, and there seems to be a rather nasty entity living within. As you might’ve ascertained, there’s quite a bit of supernatural elements in this book, which shouldn’t be surprising as the series itself is about a group of animals dealing with supernatural occurrences within their little part of the world: Burden Hill. What’s nice about this individual book is how it has all the key elements a long time fan may expect, but doesn’t miss the fun a new reader would want.

I really enjoyed this book, and as someone who hasn’t been a longtime reader of Beasts of Burden, I was immediately interested in finding trades and whatnot to further my reading as this standalone was extremely fun to read.

Rough-Riders-2-CoverRough Riders #2

Written By: Adam Glass
Art By: Patrick Olliffee
Published: May 04, 2016 by Aftershock Comics

Earlier this week someone asked me if I had any suggestions on comics that were, “out of the box.” They were looking for something different, none of this spandex wearing save the day stuff. They wanted heroics, just not the special powers kind. I asked a few questions and narrowed it down. They enjoyed history, mystery, adventure, but wanted all of that with a twist. It was in this moment when I was going to present them with Rough Riders, however, I started laughing because describing this book to a person is somewhat odd. I mean, “Imagine Theodore Roosevelt, yes the guy who was president, is a special forces type guy who assembles a team consisting of Annie Oakley, Harry Houdini, Thomas Edison, and Jack Johnson to fight a mysterious force that blew up a ship in Cuba.” Seriously…read that description again. It sounds like I made up the most insane idea for a comic ever. Yet, here I am writing about that very thing. Why? Because it’s amaze-balls, that’s why.

Seriously folks, we’re only on book two and I’m already hooked, deep. The craziest part is that nothing too overwhelming has even happened yet. By the end of this book we’ve only just now seen the team formed, yet here I am ready and willing for more. Somehow this book has managed to capture my attention, delight my overactive imagination, and is doing so during what should be very boring sequences, which they aren’t. If the book is this good when good ole Theo is slapping together his squad of famous people, how flipping amazing is this going to be when stuff starts hitting the fan? Stuff that looks to be happening in the very next book. Honestly, I’m not sure how Glass is pulling this off. This story is so much fun, and the fact that it’s only book two amazes me. Jump on now folks, I’m telling you, this book is going to be crazy and I’m strapped in for the ride.

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